Hon Roger Cook BA GradDipBus MBA MLA

Hon Roger Cook BA GradDipBus MBA MLA

Deputy Premier; Minister for State Development, Jobs and Trade; Hydrogen Industry; Tourism; Science

    New hope for dialysis patients as world-first trial tracks breakthrough in infection testing

    28/11/2019 9:00 AM
    • $1.9 million in McGowan Government grants for translational research projects
    • Eight research projects to share in funding, including research that could prolong the lives of patients with kidney disease  

    New McGowan Government funded research is set to transform the lives of patients with end-stage kidney disease, particularly those living in rural and remote areas.


    The world-first project is being led by Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital Consultant Nephrologist Aron Chakera. It centres on two tests that have the potential to minimise complications of the more lifestyle friendly form of dialysis.


    Peritoneal dialysis (PD) can offer patients a better quality of life than conventional haemodialysis because it can be delivered outside the clinical setting. PD offers greater flexibility for dialysis patients to pursue everyday activities, including employment. Haemodialysis, on the other hand, is usually undertaken for periods of four to five hours at a time, three times a week, year round. It is rarely available outside a hospital setting, preventing many patients from ever travelling far from their treating hospital.


    Despite offering comparable safety to haemodialysis and better quality of life, patients and doctors are often wary of PD due to its heightened association with peritonitis - an infection within the abdomen - which can lead to treatment failure and death.


    What makes peritonitis particularly perilous is that determining the cause of infection can take time and delays the start of appropriate treatment. These delays can be even longer for patients living in remote areas.


    Dr Chakera and his research team believe the solution could lie in two tests which slash the time taken to identify the cause of infection, enabling earlier treatment and reduced severity of infection.


    One of the new tests is used like a home pregnancy test, with the appearance of two lines in a panel providing almost immediate confirmation of infection. The second test, which has been developed in Western Australia by PathWest scientists, can not only reduce the wait for a diagnosis by hours or even days but also predict antibiotic resistance.


    This added feature means the treating doctor can prescribe the right antibiotic upfront rather than rely on the use of a broad-spectrum antibiotic to cover all possible infections.


    Recent data indicates that for every hour the administration of appropriate antibiotics is delayed, the risk of PD failure or death increases by almost seven per cent.


    Up to one hundred PD patients are expected to take part in this study which will employ the two novel tests alongside standard existing tests.


    Dr Chakera's research is one of eight projects that will share in $1.9 million of funding in the 13th round of the Research Translations Projects program. The program encourages research and the translation of research outcomes into effective healthcare policy and practice.


    Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook:


    "The McGowan Government is investing $1.9 million in these projects that translate research findings into better healthcare. We understand that medical research and innovation improves our public health system, our economy and most importantly the health outcomes for all Western Australians. 


    "Dr Chakera's project has the potential to dramatically improve the quality of life of patients with end-stage kidney disease around the world. In addition to the patient benefit, the health system would make substantial savings through fewer hospital admissions and reduced lengths of hospital stay.


    "This project is a fantastic example of the cutting-edge research underway in WA and aligns closely with the McGowan Government's determination to provide patient-centred, preventative healthcare that is sustainable and closer to home."


    Minister's office - 6552 6500